How to Incorporate a Sensory Rich Environment for Your Baby
The term sensory play is quite the buzzword these days. Sensory sounds like a rehab word, but do not be intimidated. In order to incorporate sensory activities into your baby's routine, you don't need a degree in occupational therapy (the discipline most associated with sensory deficits). You just need a natural environment and a little imagination, and you can go far.
So what is considered "sensory". The term sensory play means any activity that stimulates one or more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, and/or touch). When children engage in sensory play, it facilitates their exploration of the surrounding environment. So, you may be asking yourself, how do I give my baby sensory rich experiences...well, the OFY team has some suggestions.
Neurotypical babies and children are constantly seeking out those sensory experiences. This is innate for them and by design, this is how the brain makes many of its connections. Remember, the brain is making its most important connections from birth to three years of age (early intervention is key). This is why you want to provide your baby with those sensory rich experiences from the very beginning. Give your baby plenty of time on the floor. That's right, parents, get them out of those oh-so-convenient baby containers and get down on the floor and play with them. No need to choreograph playtime with your baby, let them lead you and experience the word from their vantage point.
Below are some suggestions for each sense:
Sight: Display art (store bought or homemade will do the trick), incorporate an aquarium into your living room, provide plenty of picture books, take your baby outside for walks and discuss the various objects and animals
Hearing: Sing songs, play music, play instruments (give your baby a pot and a wooden spoon), listen to the sounds in nature (birds, thunderstorm, wind, rustling of the leaves)
Smell: bring your baby into the kitchen to watch you cook (talk about the different smells of foods and spices), smell the flowers in your garden, expose them to different holiday smells (pine trees in the winter, flowers in the spring, coconuts in the summer, and cinnamon in the fall)
Touch: Add a variety of textures to your home (perhaps the soft blocks from the OFY backpack), some cushy pillows and a textured rug, play-doh (once baby is old enough)
Taste: Provide your baby with many different tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and a tiny bit of spice), your baby may prefer the toys over any true edible food (how about that Banana teether in the OFY backpack?)
Remember, babies will often seek out these sensory rich experiences on their own. But...if you need a little help, the Our First Year backpack contains a plethora of sensory rich toys for your little one. Purchase yours today and engage in meaningful playtime with your baby.